With ecosystems ranging from the dry Mojave Desert to rich Sierra Nevada forests to Mediterranean-like Central Valley, it’s no surprise that California is home to a diverse array of wildflowers. Take a stroll outside and you may find California wildflowers including the iconic California poppy as well as lesser-known species like annual phacelia and hummingbird sage.
Along with its native wildflowers, California is also home to numerous flower farms. While these growers don’t always grow California natives, each of these cut flowers has an interesting story of how they made their way to The Golden State.
Common California Wildflowers
Maybe you want to incorporate native flowers into your California garden to provide food for bees and butterflies. Or perhaps you want to know what wildflowers to keep an eye out for. No matter the case, you’ll enjoy learning about these common California wildflowers.
A spring annual, these little wildflowers are especially darling. They display daisy-like blooms atop a long, slender stem that sprouts forth from a succulent. The yellow flowers feature sharp, white tips – hence the name – which add an unexpected appeal to the tiny blooms.
Tidy tips seeds germinate when winter rain comes along, and the plants don’t require a ton of water from there on out – making them a solid candidate for California gardeners looking for a sustainable addition to their yard. While Tidy Tips are native to California and you can find them from San Francisco to Los Angeles to San Diego, you can also find them across the American Southwest as far east as Texas.
Hummingbird Sage is a standout plan. This particular type of sage is native to the whole of the California coast – growing from Orange County to Napa.
As the name suggests, the tall pink blooms are especially attractive to the delicate and beautiful hummingbirds. The plant grows year-round, as long as you provide little extra water during the summer months and trim the plant to keep it healthy.
Plus, a couple of these long-stemmed blooms stand to shake up any standard bouquet.
Somewhat of a rarity among California desert flowers, this mallow variety produces sunshine yellow, cup-shaped blooms. The flowers are sure to brighten up your garden as well as any arrangement in the vase.
The plants themselves grow in dry climates and can grow over six feet tall. That means long stems that are perfect for arranging any way you like.
Lewisia comes in a variety of colors – pink, yellow, and orange – but all are marked by a signature stripe-y streak of white, rose, or red. These California cuties bloom during spring and summer months, but it may take a couple of years before the succulent starts producing its own rosettes. Remember, patience is a virtue, here.
While care for the Lewisia requires minimal effort on your end, you’ll want to make sure you plant these in fast-draining soil – i.e., one of those cactus-specific blends you can find at the nursery.
Ah, the California state flower. Since 1903, the flower has been something of a symbol for the gold rush era, representing “fields of gold.” The native poppy grows along the west coast of the US from Mexico to Washington state. It’s also been found in far-flung places like France, Chile, and Australia.
The golden orange flower grows year-round and can reach up to 20 inches in height. The cheery bloom features delicate petals, and a more delicate appearance than traditional opium poppies. California poppies feature a flower that is entirely orange, and they lack the black middle synonymous with the seeded plant.
Pacific Coast Iris
The Pacific Coast Iris is a slender species with leaves streaked with darks and lights for a unique effect. While they bear some resemblance to their bearded relatives, they are smaller. They also sometimes feature a yellow streak down the middle which provides a stark contrast to the dreamy purple-blue petals.
And if purple isn’t your fav, there this flower can also be found in pink, white, and yellow.
Phacelias are California native flowers, present in several different regions. Though, it’s worth pointing out that they do especially well in the sunny, southern part of the state. These blue, bell-shaped beauties are a drought-tolerant annual that produces both pollen and nectar, attracting bees, butterflies, and other pollinating critters.
At home in a low-water rock garden, these flowers are the perfect complement to a vibrant orange arrangement like sunflowers or California poppy, the state flower.
A word of warning: phacelia buds are covered in little hairs that may cause a skin reaction. So tread carefully, or you might be battling some serious itching.
While not all of these flowers are native to The Golden State, they’re an important part of the California floral industry and our stunning Bouqs. Keep reading to learn about how these blooms journeyed from their homelands to California.
An icon of spring’s arrival, it seems that tulips have always sprouted up from California gardens and farms. However, these flowers started their journey thousands of miles away from the picturesque California coasts and forests.
Tulips originated in the Tian-Shan region in Central Asia, also known as the Mountains of Heaven. Here, these beloved flowers blanketed mountain meadows and popped out from rocky ledges.
Before long, people fell in love with tulips and began cultivating them in other regions of the world. In 1593, the flowers made their way to one of the most famous tulip-growing areas: the Netherlands. However, these flowers weren’t always as prevalent there as they are today.
In fact, tulips were so rare (and valuable) that they led to a frenzied event known as tulipmania. During this period, people bought tulips bulbs with the intent to hold them and then sell them when prices rose. This desire to get rich quick unnaturally inflated the cost of the bulbs. Eventually, tulip bulb prices collapsed, creating economic conditions similar to those found with modern-day stock market crashes.
Today, tulips are cultivated all over the world, including in sunny California! The Bouqs Co. partners with California farmers to bring gorgeous tulips right to your door. Just check out these gorgeous tulip bouquets.
With hundreds of species of lilies and even more varieties, it can be hard to keep track of where all these flowers come from. That said, it’s easy to trace the story of one especially stunning lily, the Stargazer lily.
This variety is a hybrid type of oriental lily, with parent species that are native to Japan. While you can trace the Stargazer’s lineage all the way back to Japan, this variety was actually created in California. In 1974, lily breeder Leslie Woodriff created a new lily variety with flowers that pointed upwards rather than towards the ground. She named this cultivar Stargazer, and it has been a hit ever since.
You can still find California farmers growing Stargazer lilies today. Some of these California-grown flowers are featured in our bright Sierra Sunset Bouq below.
Chrysanthemums have a long and illustrious history. First cultivated in China as long ago as the 15th-century B.C.E., the growing and sharing of chrysanthemums have spread from East Asia and Eastern Europe around the world. In many artistic and literary traditions, chrysanthemums are considered one of the Four Gentlemen plants along with the plum blossom, orchid, and bamboo. Chrysanthemums start making appearances in Chinese art as early as the Song Dynasty (10th and 11th Century) and cultivation began in Japan during the Nara or Heian periods (8th to 12th century).
Our Wildflower bouquet continues the noble tradition of the chrysanthemum and pairs it with some California favorite supporting flowers such as the snapdragon, sword ferns, and alstroemeria. It also includes feverfew which look like baby daisies! You don’t have to travel to a wildflower field to appreciate this gorgeous Wildflower!
Pink Rose Lilies
These double-petaled lilies are another type of hybrid ornamental lily. Like their Stargazer cousin, the Pink Rose Lilies were bred from oriental lilies native to China, Japan, and other areas in East Asia.
While there are many types of rose lilies, some of the most stunning varieties were created by the Dutch lily breeding company de Loof Lily Innovation.
Once California growers caught sight of these stunning flowers, they latched onto them and planted them in their fields. Today, you can order the Charisma Bouq to enjoy your own California-grown rose lilies.
Although you probably know them as charming houseplants, anthurium plants grow wild in many parts of the world! With close to a thousand species of anthurium, you can find some sort of anthurium species growing wild from Mexico all the way down to Brazil.
However, one of the most popular houseplant species Anthurium andraeanum is native to the rainforests of Colombia and Ecuador.
Today, horticulturalists propagate and care for anthurium plants so they can make their way to new homes. Our anthurium, Flamingle, is grown by talented California plant pros.
Ah, the orchid. While you may have only seen one or two varieties of this plant in your lifetime, the orchid family is huge! In fact, orchids are native to every continent except Antarctica.
California has its fair share of orchids, with over 30 native species. These include the California Lady’s Slipper, Fairy-Slipper, Phantom Orchid, Elegant Rein Orchid. While these plants can make a great addition to your California garden, they’re rarely grown as houseplants.
When it comes to houseplants, people typically choose orchid species that are native to the tropics. The easy-to-care-for phalaenopsis orchid, aka the moth orchid, is often someone’s first foray into orchids. While these orchids are now cultivated throughout the world, they are native to tropical regions in Southeast Asia.
If you’d like to add an orchid to your home or send one as a gift, be sure to check out our collection of Farmer’s Choice Orchids.
While you may think all sunflowers have dark centers and bright yellow petals, there are approximately 70 sunflower species and hundreds of varieties! The majority of these species are native to North America, and a fair number are California natives.
Sunflowers were first domesticated and cultivated by indigenous peoples in Mexico and the Southern United States. Native Americans primarily grew sunflowers for their fatty and edible seeds.
When Europeans came to North America, they saw the sunflower’s beauty and usefulness, and therefore brought seeds back to Europe. Eventually, sunflowers made their way to the Russian Empire, where people began to cultivate them on a commercial scale.
Over time, this commercial cultivation of sunflowers made its way to the United States. Today, California farmers grow sunflowers for both their oil-rich seeds as well as their beauty. Look for bright, cheery sunflowers in the Queen Bee and Hello Sunshine Bouqs!
Along with cultivated sunflowers, you can still find wild sunflowers in California! The California sunflower (Helianthus californicus) grows between three and ten feet tall and produces multiple flowers per plant. Keep an eye out for its blooms in the summer and early fall.
What Flowers bloom All Year Long in California?
Some flowers that may bloom all year long in California include the African violet, petunia, hibiscus, tree mallow, seaside daisy, and bush poppy. Just remember that California is a big state, so a flower’s bloom period will depend on the exact location and climate.
What Is the Most Popular Flower in California?
California is the biggest cut flower producer in the United States, with $242 million in annual cut flower sales. Lilies were the most popular flower in California, with $52 million in annual sales.Shop All